MPs Angela Browning, Peter Lilley, Bob Spink, Andrew Turner, James Brokenshire, Simon Burns, Angela Watkinson, Shahid Malik, Lindsay Hoyle, Geraldine Smith and Bob Russell all backed yesterday’s parliamentary attempt by Andrew Rosindell to make St George’s Day a national holiday. The MP for Romford, whose Staffordshire bull terrier, Buster, occasionally wears a St George’s Cross, told the Commons:
"Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States and scores of countries, particularly in Scandinavia, celebrate their national day in style, with great pageantry as well as great parties. In Switzerland, 1 August is a wonderful day in the calendar of that proud independent nation at the heart of Europe, with the sound of alpine horns and cow bells echoing throughout the land as the distinctive Swiss flag flies from every building and, indeed, every home. It is no accident that all those nations have a strong sense of pride in their national identity, which is a source of strength and unity in any country. I hope that England follows their example and gives our country an annual day to remember and cherish."
Mr Rosindell made it clear that he was also in "favour of extending the same rights for St Andrew’s day in Scotland and St David’s day in Wales".
This debate is only the latest sign of ‘the rise of the English lion’ and it is a source of huge concern for Gordon Brown. Yesterday’s Daily Mail editorialised on the subject:
"After years of dormancy, English nationalism is being reborn, on an ocean of St George’s flags. And that is very bad news for our very able Chancellor."
Iain Dale thinks it is time for the Conservative Party to "allow a referendum in England on the creation of a Parliament for England". Iain was responding to Alice Thomson’s suggestion that the Barnett formula be scrapped – the public spending formula that sees UK taxpayers spend £1,473 more on the average person living in Scotland than on the average person living in England. Ms Thomson quotes The Economist’s recent verdict on the English-Scottish relationship:
"Scotland has regressed into an inward-looking, chip-on-the-shoulder, slightly Anglophobic country… It has gained self-doubt, while clinging to an old dependency on England."